Editorial: Drug tests, a band aid solution

www.nordis.net

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency proposed a mandatory drug test on grade 4 to grade 12 students and their teachers because they were “able to rescue” a 10 year old from illegal drugs.

Besides the life time trauma this proposed drug test can impress on the children and their parents, and upon the community that would be left to care for them after, the imposition is a dreadful impingement and violation to their rights as children who must be protected, and to their parents whose right (and instinct) to protect their offspring will be wrenched from them and be rendered useless.

Though this proposal is now being opposed and might as well be, by parents, teachers and the Department of Education itself, on the other hand, it has also surfaced an over zealous tendency of “the minions to please their boss” even at the terrible detriment of the people they have sworn to serve and protect as employees in government.

Think well of how a 10 year old grade 4 pupil would feel after being subjected to this mandatory drug test, the stigma of having been suspected or accused of taking illicit drugs or simply of lying? And to uniformed and armed men? The Alliance of Concerned Teachers described the drug test would have a “chilling effect” on children, the future of the nation.

After the testing what is next? Will they be made victims of the “oplan tokhang” or placed in a watch list? Will they be jailed or institutionalized? Are there enough funds, facilities or institutions to rehabilitate children? Will government shoulder the costs?

Just the thought of this proposal sends chills down the spine or triggers panic among parents and relatives, after all children were not spared from the killings related to the Duterte administration’s illegal drug war, remember Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17; Althea Barbon, 4; Hideyoshi Kawata, 17 and several other minors killed in police operations against illegal drugs.

Nearly 4,000 suspected drug addicts and drug peddlers died and thousands more arrested, most of whom came from poor families; because of the anti-drug campaign of the present administration. And yet the problem keeps growing.

Children go to school, to Church or Mosques for guidance, socialization and proper education that is key to molding responsible and law abiding citizens. A wholesome community and the school is where the young learners feel free, confident and safe. Teaching them to stay away from illegal drugs begins at home as well as in the school and in the community. More government support must be given to strengthen the capacity of the public school system to care for the students and their teachers instead of disbursing so much valued funds to “security units” seeking out suspects among our youngsters.

When poverty moves in and is imposed on the nation down to its basic communities by a system of governance that is corrupt, and run to protect big business -foreign or otherwise, and oppressive profits are secured by “the minions” depriving the nation’s needy or majority population. A campaign against illegal drugs can not be a top priority of government, and morally speaking, the promised change must lead to strengthen the people’s capacity to bring food to the table for everyone everyday, strengthen their capacity to contribute to industrialization, and secure national resources to sustain the nation (not a foreign government), and rescue the future of our children. Illegal drugs shall then have no place to exist. # nordis.net

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